Legislative and Regulatory Update
April 2019 by Scott Harn
• Bishop and Curtis seek to rein in Antiquities Act abuses
Congressmen Rob Bishop (R-UT) and John Curtis (R-UT) introduced HR 1664, a bill that would set limits on the use of the Antiquities Act to create national monuments.
The bill would require review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a proposed monument between 640 acres and 10,000 acres. An environmental assessment would also be required for proposed monuments between 5,000 and 10,000 acres. Congressional approval would be required for larger proposed monuments.
It’s unclear whether this bill has the necessary support to pass in the House.
• Lands bill signed by President Trump
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) made a valiant attempt to stop S 47, a huge public lands bill that included permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), but his effort ultimately failed and the bill passed.
Senator Lee had introduced an amendment to remove the permanent funding, but both Democrats and Republicans joined forces to shoot down his amendment. The reason we—and miners in general—were against the bill is because LWCF funds are used to place additional public lands off-limits regardless of whether or not a mineral survey has been completed.
Senator Lee is all too familar with federal land grabs in Utah; he fought to have the size of national monuments reduced in his state when former President Obama used the Antiquities Act to expand them against the wishes of local legislators.
President Trump really did not have a choice but to sign it after it passed with a veto-proof majority. The bill passed the Senate 92-8, with the following Senators voting against it: Cruz (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Johnson (R-WI), Landford (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Sasse (R-NE), Toomey (R-PA). A House version passed 363-62.
In other words, just like those that move next to an airport and then complain about the noise, Mr. Riskedahl deliberately went out of his way to “witness and document the effects of suction dredge mining,” and when he found some, he was annoyed by it!
On Tuesday morning, August 26, 2010, my clients Michael and Linda Backlund were forced to plead guilty to a charge of violating 36 CFR §261.10(b), which criminalizes maintaining a residence on Forest Service land without authorization “when such authorization is required.” This is a new regulation pursuant to which virtually anything, even a tent, is an unlawful “residence” unless authorized in advance.
The one legal entity that can change the game and provide a path and template to protect landowners and public land users across the United States is the miner.
For now, MSHA is just collecting information. However, the information it collects will shape what comes next.
• BLM to raise fees again
• Roadless Rule stands
• Suit filed over dredging restrictions in Washington State
• NWMA lends support
• California suction gold dredging lawsuits progressing
We know we lack critical minerals. We know the causes. We know the need. We have the knowledge we need right now. Why can’t we just take action and fix the problem?
...we packed up our two dredges and headed for our claim about an hour away on the South Fork of the Clearwater to dredge openly in opposition to the EPA.
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